Thursday, June 24, 2010

Torres 'Set To Lead Liverpool Exodus'

Fernando Torres is among four players set to walk out on Liverpool - including one who hasn't even joined the club yet - according to reports.

The brilliant striker is set to be the subject of a £38m bid from Barcelona, who believe he is eager for a move to the Nou Camp.

Javier Mascherano is also thought to be a Barca target, with Rafael Benitez's new club Inter Milan also interested.

And Milan Jovanovic, who had agreed to join Benitez at Anfield before his dismissal, may now choose to link up with the manager at the San Siro instead.

Meanwhile left-back Emiliano Insua is said to be keen on a switch to Fiorentina, with the club's haggling over his likely £4m transfer fee.

Toure Deal Will Increase Barcelona Interest In Liverpool's Mascherano

With Manchester City having all but signed Yaya Toure from Barcelona, the Catalan giants will intensify their interest in Liverpool's Javier Mascherano, according to Spanish daily AS.

It appears that the drawn out transfer of Toure may finally have been completed with sections of the Spanish media reporting that the midfielder will move to Manchester City for 30 million euros with only the formality of a medical outstanding. Spanish daily 'Sport' reports that "the agreement between the clubs is closed."

Meanwhile, AS speculates that the sale of Toure will speed up a Barcelona bid for Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano. It had been thought that the Spanish champions were put off by a 30 million price tag, but given the sale of Toure, Barcelona will increase their interest in the Argentina captain, having attempted to prize him away from Anfield last summer. AS describes the deal now as "more feasible".

Should Barcelona attempt to sign Mascherano, it is thought that they will have to compete with Inter Milan for the 26-year-old's signature. Mascherano has spoken openly of his admiration for former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, now in charge at the San Siro.

Mascherano, widely regarded as the best holding midfielder in the world, played 47 games for Liverpool last season and is currently starring at the World Cup for Argentina.

Barcelona Weighing Up £38m Move For Liverpool Striker Fernando Torres

Barcelona are believed to be lining up a £38 million bid to secure the signature of Spain and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, according to the Daily Mail.

The Reds had a torrid campaign last season, with early exits in all cup competitions and a disaster in the domestic circuit that saw the club miss out on Champions League qualification.

The Merseyside club's biggest names have consequently been linked with moves away from Anfield since, with the Spanish heavyweights reported to have been keen on signing the hitman.

However, the Catalan club are believed to be unwilling to pay more than £38m to sign the forward, and believe that the Anfield ace is willing to join their ranks.

Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the prolific goal scorer, and it has been speculated that the Stamford Bridge coffers may open wider than the Spanish ones to sign the forward.

It is said that Barca believe that Torres' inclination to make a move to Camp Nou will see them pip their Premier League rivals in winning the race to sign the hitman.

Wolves Keen For Liverpool To Revive Hennessey Bid

Wolves are counting on Liverpool to revive their interest in goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

The Express & Star says Hennessey is among players being made available by Wolves this summer.

It is understood Liverpool lodged a £2m bid for Hennessey before Rafael Benitez’s departure as they sought back-up for Pepe Reina, and the keeper is known to be unhappy at his exile from the team.

Jovanovic Hints At Reds U-turn

Serbia international Milan Jovanovic has revealed he could pull out of his move to Liverpool.

The 29-year-old signed a pre-contract agreement with the Premier League giants in February as his deal with Belgian side Standard Liege was coming to an end this summer.

But the Reds then failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and manager Rafael Benitez has since left Anfield and joined Inter Milan.

There has been speculation Benitez will attempt to hijack the transfer and take the striker with him to the San Siro.

And Jovanovic has claimed he may be able to pull out of the move, which was set to see him sign a three-year contract at Anfield.

"There is an agreement signed with Liverpool," he is quoted as saying on

"But if either party wants to end it, it's not impossible."

AC Milan, Juventus and Valencia were all thought to be tracking Jovanovic when his agreement with Liverpool was initially announced.

And he has provided further evidence of his quality at the World Cup, scoring the only goal in Serbia's 1-0 upset of Germany.

Fear Of World Cup Failure Will Spur Us On, Says Steven Gerrard

Captain Steven Gerrard has said England will be driven on by the fear of failure in their make or break World Cup encounter with Slovenia.

And the Liverpool midfielder knows it is vital that Fabio Capello's side do not buckle under the pressure in Port Elizabeth.

Gerrard accepts England "stopped doing the things we're good at" during the goalless draw with Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.

Now they need a win against the current group leaders Slovenia to guarantee a place in the last 16.

Gerrard said: "The fear of not winning drives you on. The last thing you want is to go home in the group stages.

"We've come here to stay in this tournament to the end. It would be an absolute disaster for this group of players to go home after the group stages.

"We want more. We want a performance. The key is to try and live without fear. There is pressure and fear.

"You're playing for England and you have massive support. It doesn't help to go on to the pitch and play with that fear.

"You have to go on to the pitch and try and relax, be patient. The performance will come."

Gerrard acknowledges England will be favourites, despite their stuttering form, but feels the World Cup has proved nothing can be taken for granted.

He said: "On paper, we're massive favourites. They're a small nation compared to us.

"But every game in this World Cup, as has been proven, is difficult.

"They only need a draw, and the pressure is on us because we need to win the game. But we need to live with that, play with that on our shoulders and get on with it."

Gerrard is clear in his own mind what England have to put right if they are to overcome Slovenia.

He said: "We've stopped doing the things we're good at. We watched the game with Algeria in the team meeting, without anyone talking, and it was clear to see we weren't aggressive enough.

"We didn't play to our strengths. We didn't press high enough. We didn't win the ball back when we lost possession.

"We didn't run enough, press the ball enough. I don't think we made any big mistakes in the game.

"We kept a clean sheet and didn't lose the game. We did okay up until the final third, but then we didn't have the cutting edge to break that team down. We need to get that in this game."

Torres Ready To Go Distance

Fernando Torres believes he is ready to play 90 minutes for Spain after starting his first game of the World Cup finals on Monday evening.

The Liverpool striker figured for 70 minutes as La Furia Roja recorded their first win in South Africa with a 2-0 success over Honduras.

With a first start since undergoing knee surgery in April now under his belt, Torres insists he is ready to go the distance in Spain's next outing against Chile on Friday.

"I'm ready to play the full 90 minutes when the boss sees fit," he said.

"I played 70 minutes and the good news is I feel ready to last for 90 minutes for the first time since my recovery."

David Villa struck twice to help Vicente del Bosque's side to three points against the Hondurans, while the Barcelona newboy also missed a penalty during an absorbing encounter in Johannesburg.

The result means a win over Group H leaders Chile will see Spain successfully navigate their way into the last 16 of the World Cup.

"Once again we created plenty of chances," reflected El Nino. "We scored, but we missed a lot of chances. We still need to get the feel of the ball.

"Villa and I have said we understand each other perfectly and hopefully we can play together again, although we've always said that if we don't then it doesn't matter as long as the team works well.

"Jesus Navas got to the by-line well and we spent most of the game camped in their half. And scoring in the first-half helped the side a lot. Our gameplan is clear."

He added: "Our defeat against Switzerland was already water under the bridge, we talked about it and it's not logical to look back. We played in the same style as we played against Switzerland, we attacked and played short passes.

"This first group of games is very difficult, we still have a match to play against Chile. Being world champions is a long way down the road.

"Not just for any national squad, but in terms of time as well, there is a long time to go before the final and there are many matches to play before then. At the moment we are focused on Chile, beating them and moving on to the next round."

While England's frustrating World Cup campaign has come under the media microscope recently, Torres is eager to highlight the positive backing Spain are receiving back home.

He said: "We are very happy with the press back home. They have shown their support to the team since day one.

"The rest of the world are waiting for us to make a mistake, they doubt our style of play, but I don't feel that they have any reason to do so."

Liverpool Legend Jan Molby Believes England Captain Steven Gerrard Must Partner Wayne Rooney In Attack Against Slovenia

Liverpool and Denmark legend Jan Molby reckons Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard must partner Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney in attack to allow for an overall balance throughout the side.

Molby believes Fabio Capello must reinvigorate his England side for their Wednesday evening clash with Slovenia if he is to gain the necessary result that will see England through to the knockout stages of the World Cup competition.

"It's simple for me. I would go with a 4-5-1 system with Steven playing just off Rooney," Molby told Liverpool’s official website when quizzed about Gerrard’s on field position.

"I'd play Joe Cole on the left and play two central midfielders in Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick.

"Frank Lampard has had no impact on this World Cup whatsoever and it's now time for action if England are to make the last 16.

"Your job as a manager is to get the best out of your players and Capello is not doing that at the moment with Steven."

Gerrard, who has scored 17 goals in 82 international appearances for England, has scored the only goal of England’s World Cup campaign so far; the opening goal of their 1-1 draw with the United States on June 12.